The Vatican announced Wednesday that Pope John Paul I, the Italian pontiff who ruled just 33 days before his death in 1978, would be beatified after being credited with a miracle that brought him one step closer to holiness.
Pope Francis approved a decree recognizing the first miracle attributed to John Paul I – the mysterious healing of a sick young girl in Buenos Aires in 2011, according to a statement from the Congregation for Saints, which oversees the canonization process.
“A causal connection was recognized between the call of the Monk John Paul I and the healing of a young girl,” it says.
The parishioners reported that the 11-year-old girl contracted a severe form of inflammatory encephalopathy, which led to intubation, and later developed bronchial pneumonia, adding that the hospital priest suggested that her mother seek help from John. Paul I.
Their prayers and those of the intensive care nurses “were addressed exclusively to Pope Luciani” and were performed together and individually, it says, referring to John Paul, whose birth name was Albino Luciani.
After a few days, the girl began to recover until she returned to full physical and psychological shape, the congregation said, adding that in 2019 a Vatican physician commission had confirmed that there was no scientific explanation for her recovery.
The campaign for the canonization of John Paul I began in 2003, but according to the so-called postulators who worked on his case, for two decades after his death, there were difficulties in collecting evidence and documents.
For him to achieve holiness, another miracle must be attributed to him.
The Vatican has not announced a date for the beatification of John Paul, a ceremony usually held in the homeland of the future saint. He came from a small village in the Dolomites in the Veneto region of northern Italy. where he grew up in a poor family. The diocese recently bought out his home to turn it into a museum.
“He was a bishop, very beloved by the people and by the priests,” Cardinal Beniamino Stella, the main proponent of the canonization of John Paul I, told the Vatican news site. “And he was a very, very simple pope.”
John Paul I was elected in August 1978 to succeed Paul VI, but died a month later at the age of 65 from a heart attack, which postulators consider to be a heart attack.
He was succeeded by John Paul II, the third person to hold the title of Pope in 1978, whose papacy extended to 2005, one of the longest in recent history.
If the process went through, almost all the popes who ruled since the late 1950s would become saints under the supervision of Pope Francis. John Paul II and John XXIII were declared saints in 2014, and Paul VI received this honor in 2018.